Driving CX Culture Change

Driving Customer-Centric Culture Change

Customer experience is about more than simply offering great service. It’s about delighting your customers during every interaction with your brand. Driving customer-centric change within your organizational structure helps your business reach its full potential and sets you apart from your competitors.

Putting your customers at the core of your decision-making processes creates lasting customer value and loyalty, and increases profitability. Heart of the Customer shares change management best practices to help you drive customer-focused change to transform the way you do business.

How do you operationalize “Customers are our #1 priority”?

I recently moved to a new part of town, and the local Wendy’s has “We love customers” on their placard. My dry cleaner has the same message printed on their hangers.

Who cares?

What is the purpose of such a generic statement? Do other dry cleaners have hangers that say, “We’re really indifferent about customers, but thanks for using us”? Do they expect an emotional connection to result from this supposed outpouring of love? I guess it’s possible – but very unlikely. Read more

An Interview with Devin Anuzis of Benchmark Senior Living

Devin Anuzis is Corporate Manager, Customer Experience at Benchmark, the leading provider of senior living services in the Northeast. Serving as the “voice” of the customer program, Devin manages multiple feedback channels and deciphers the feedback for company stakeholders to ensure the customer’s voice is clearly heard and considered in all decisions. In her role, she combines her experience in marketing and communication with her strong, empathic nature to respond to every form of customer input. 

Devin joined Benchmark in 2013 as Coordinator of Customer Experience after receiving a master’s degree in business administration from Lynn University with a focus on mass communication and media management. She earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Tampa.   

A former Division 1, intercollegiate soccer player, Devin is an eager traveler and animal-lover living in Norwood, Massachusetts, with her husband, George, and their toy poodle, Summer, and cockapoo, Wesley.  

Contact Devin at Danuzis@benchmarkquality.com. 

Tell me a little about your organization and your role within it. 

Benchmark Senior Living was founded in 1997, and we now have 56 properties throughout the northeast, from Vermont to Pennsylvania. Our goal is to provide exceptional care, but our mission focuses on the whole experience of our residents and family members. We provide assisted living, memory care, independent living, and we also have 4 continuing care retirement communities with skilled nursing capabilities.  

I oversee the customer experience—more specifically relating to the family members or influencers, but I also support our teams that oversee the experience of our residents. I’m also fortunate enough to be involved in a lot of the more strategic discussions that happen throughout the company—anything that would involve our residents and family members. 

We recently did a complete rebrand of the company—a new mission statement, new vision, new values. Our focus is on transforming lives through human connection, and in turn that’s all about the experience we provide to our residents and family members and anyone who interacts with our organization. Our CX is really at the heart now of who we are as an organization.  Read more

Stuck? Here are Three Ways to Gain CX Traction

As one of the CXPA’s CX Experts, as well as a journey mapper, I’m often called by companies trying to create momentum for their CX program. Sometimes it’s a midsize manufacturer trying to start their CX program. Other times, it’s a Fortune 50 company who has a program, but seeing its influence wane.

I wrote a white paper on starting a program, in conjunction with Intouch Insight. In it, I walked through the CXPA’s six CX disciplines (CX Strategy, Customer-Centric Culture, VOC Customer Insight & Understanding, Experience Design Improvement & Innovation, Metrics & Measurement, and ROI & Organizational Adoption & Accountability). All six are critical to a successful program.

But most people who call know they need to do all this. That’s not the question. What they really want to know is: how do they build momentum? “How do I break through the noise, in order to get the company’s attention, so I can get permission to build a CX-focused design and governance program?”

If you’re stuck and can’t get the attention, focusing on all six disciplines equally is the surest way to stay stuck. To gain this attention, you need to hit your employees – and your executives – in the gut. You need to create a visceral connection to your current customer experience and its limitations. And the best way I know to do that is through visual voice of the customer. Read more

Use Commitment Science to Drive CX Change

At Heart of the Customer, our team is reading Influence, the classic book by Robert Cialdini. While it’s an older book, it has a ton to offer to anybody looking to build action, including in the area of customer experience (CX).

This week we’re up to Chapter 3, Commitment. Cialdini uses a ton of examples, including Chinese prison camps in Korea, fraternities, and small kids playing with toys. Through these examples, Cialdini shows how by convincing others to publicly claim their support for a specific philosophy, you are leading people to subsequently act in a manner consistent with that philosophy – even if they previously did not strongly support such a position. Read more

Why Your CEO Isn’t Impressed with Your Work 

I wrote last week about why Your CX Scorecard is Probably Measuring the Wrong Thing. Now, on a flight home from a client workshop, I have a chance to catch up on some old reading. And it turns out that your CEO likely agrees. You may not be spending time in the right areas – or, at least, not making that clear to the organization. 

Executives and CX

Walker’s The CEO View of CX includes a survey of Business-to-Business Customer Experience (CX) employees. The survey asked them about their CEO’s top areas of focus, and they selected “Competitive advantage” and “Growth, profitability and valuation” as their top two. But when presented with the same list to describe what they were focusing on, the answers were “Identifying what to do AND how to do it,” “Creating a customer-focused culture,” and “Incorporating CX capabilities throughout the org.” The same list, but completely different areas of focus identified. 

Are the two necessarily a mismatch? Of course not. All three areas of CX focus can be building blocks to accomplish the CEO’s goals. However, it’s telling that the CX employees didn’t choose the outcomes, but instead the tasks. And that puts you at risk of being marginalized.  Read more

Three steps to create customer-focused change

Customer experience (CX) is about change.

I wrote about this last week. But there’s a lot of confusion about the best way to create this change.

Immature CX practitioners often see themselves there to drive the business. They see their role as being on the outside, there to show the business what the customers really want. And this role feels good. “I represent the customer, and am here to show you what they want” is an easy go-to place.

It’s also a terrible way to create sustainable change.  Read more

Case Study: Journey Mapping Unleashes the Power of People

 

Journey maps are extremely valuable tools. They provide key insights into the thoughts and feelings of customers during their interactions with your company, and they point the way toward cost-effective solutions to problem areas. But like any tool, they won’t do you much good if you take them home and stash them in a drawer.

To turn what’s on the page into a dynamic and fruitful change in company philosophy, you need to have the whole company on board. And the key to doing that is to ensure that everyone is invested in the process. The maps are starting points, not destinations.

Heart of the Customer works with companies to get all their stakeholders on the same page right from the start. We tailor our methodology to build the trust and consensus needed to propel change. Journey maps are more than just attractive, easy-to-digest compilations of important findings. Used optimally, they become a rallying point that can usher in a new era of strategic collaboration, with both immediate and long-term rewards. Read more

The Value of Customer Relationship Management: An Interview With Dawn Mergenthaler

Dawn Mergenthaler has been leading CRM marketing teams for healthcare, retail, and Software-as-a-Service companies for over a decade. She works closely with customer experience (CX) professionals to understand the insights gained that can be leveraged for CRM. She’s well-known for partnering cross-functionally to improve the customer’s communication experience across an organization, ultimately working to improve customer experiences and increase sales for an organization.

We caught up with Dawn to provide her insights into how CRM and CX best fit together in an organization.

CRM can mean different things to different organizations. To start off, could you give us a quick explanation how you describe CRM?

Sure. It stands for Customer Relationship Management, and like customer experience, it’s a strategy. CRM uses different initiatives and methodologies than CX to achieve the goals of improving customer experience and increasing sales.

Similar to CX, it involves collecting customer information and data that’s used in a variety of functional areas across an organization to provide a cohesive customer experience. Read more

Building a customer room at Prudential – an interview with Jason Kapel

A customer room is a fantastic way to communicate just what it’s like to be your customer. Jason Kapel of Prudential discussed their customer room at a CXPA meeting, and I asked him to share his experience with our readers.

How did you come up with the idea of a customer room?

I wanted to get people engaged with the idea of CX—not just hand them another article, or give yet another PowerPoint presentation. I wanted to get people really engaged in the idea. So after reading about a health insurer’s customer room, we built a room of our own and took it to Prudential’s primary employee locations as part of a CX roadshow.

And what is a customer room, exactly?

A customer room is exactly what it sounds like: a room full of information about customers that employees and other visitors can experience in a unique and interactive way. Simple to understand—but complex in how it helps people understand the purpose and usefulness of CX. Read more

Interview with Bob Thomas of the YMCA: Confident Employees Make Satisfied Customers

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Bob, not in the proper uniform

Bob Thomas is the chief experience officer for the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities, a leading nonprofit dedicated to strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. He is responsible for engaging community members to help them meet their personal goals while ensuring a great Y experience through integrated marketing, membership sales, and healthy living programs including swim lessons, group exercise, personal training, chronic disease prevention, and healthy aging. Prior to joining the Y, Bob held marketing, sales, and sales operations leadership positions at Boston Scientific. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and English from the University of St. Thomas. Bob serves as the chair of the board of The Sheridan Story and actively volunteers at Colonial Church of Edina.

Bob recently led a rollout of new uniforms for the Y’s employees, referred to as team members. The goal was to influence team members to better engage with customers and further increase their pride in the Y brand.  Team branding creates a work environment where every decision and every behavior embodies the specific attributes of the brand. We asked him more about the move to the new uniforms.

You recently led a change to the YMCA team uniforms. Could you tell us a little about the background of the uniforms, and why it was time for a change?

About six years ago, the Y switched from their old, black-and-red logo to a dual-color logo that uses five different color combinations, which was meant to symbolize diversity and flexibility.  The change in logo came with a change in uniform: At the time the decision was made to embrace all of the colors of the new brand, so the uniforms consisted of polo shirts that came in a variety of colors, but were primarily white—which meant they showed dirt, and looked bad even after very little basic wear-and-tear. To add to that, they didn’t fit very well, and team members soon began to express their disappointment with the required uniform.  The uniform became known as the “bowling shirts.” Read more